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Assessing the impact of the unrest in South Africa

There is clearly a lot of uncertainty over how the protests in South Africa in recent days will develop but there are reasons to think that the impact on economic activity will be towards the milder end of the spectrum. Perhaps a bigger risk is that the protests signal broader discontent with the current weakness of the economy, limiting the government’s ability to push through austerity and put the public debt position back on to a sustainable path.
Jason Tuvey Senior Emerging Markets Economist
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Africa Data Response

South Africa Activity Data (Mar.)

South Africa’s activity data for March were weak and that was even before flooding in KwaZulu-Natal province dealt a fresh blow to the economy. Inflation figures released earlier today may have increased the risk of a 50bp interest rate hike tomorrow but, with the recovery likely to remain slow and bumpy, we continue to think that rates will be raised more slowly than most expect over the next couple of years.

18 May 2022

Africa Data Response

South Africa Consumer Prices (Apr.)

South Africa’s headline inflation rate remained close to the upper bound of the Reserve Bank’s 3-6% target range in April, at 5.9% y/y, and will stay there over the coming months. Tomorrow’s interest rate decision will be a close call between a 25bp (our forecast) and a 50bp hike but, given the slow and bumpy recovery, we continue to think that rates will be raised more slowly than investors expect over 2022-24.

18 May 2022

Africa Data Response

Nigeria Consumer Prices (Apr.)

Inflation in Nigeria jumped to 16.8% y/y last month and the headline rate is likely to rise further as spillovers from the war in Ukraine filter through. Pressure to tighten monetary policy is mounting but we think that MPC members will stick to their guns and keep interest rates on hold over the coming months. EM Drop-In (17th May): Do current EM debt strains point to a repeat of the kinds of crises seen in the 1980s and 1990s? Join our special briefing on EM sovereign debt risk on Tuesday. Register now.

16 May 2022

More from Jason Tuvey

Emerging Europe Data Response

Turkey Industrial Production & Retail Sales (May)

Turkey’s activity figures for May, the month of a three-week national lockdown, showed that the industrial sector came through unscathed but that retail sales were hit hard. More timely evidence suggests that activity has rebounded quickly and, combined with the rise in inflation to a two-year high in June, means that the central bank will almost certainly leave interest rates unchanged tomorrow.

13 July 2021

Africa Economics Weekly

SA wage negotiations, Ethiopia debt restructuring

South Africa’s government is giving up further ground in wage negotiations with trade unions, raising the threat that the austerity plans unravel. Elsewhere, Ethiopia has revealed plans to restructure $1bn of external debt and with the “Common Framework” struggling to accelerate a broader restructuring, the risk of a disorderly default is rising.

9 July 2021

Emerging Europe Economics Update

NBP in no rush to tighten policy

Poland’s central bank left interest rates on hold today and, while it revised up its GDP growth and inflation forecasts, there was little sign in the accompanying press statement that the balance on the MPC has shifted further away from the ultra-dovish stance of the past year. We doubt that there will be a majority in favour of raising interest rates until mid-2022 at the earliest.

8 July 2021
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